Jim Felton is a believer in what a hydraulic center pivot can do to help him with his irrigated crops. (Courtesy photo.)

Jim Felton, a third-generation Montana registered Angus producer, is thankful for an irrigation pivot system that is hydraulic based.

“We own T-L pivots because we understand hydraulic systems and can fix them,” Felton said. “We understand hydraulic systems and can fix them. They’re simple and low maintenance.”

Felton’s father, Rich, installed their first T-L in 1984. They’ve since put in six more with the most recent going up in August 2017.

The Feltons farm roughly 850 acres of irrigated land growing mostly forage crops for their registered Angus herd, including alfalfa and alfalfa grass hay, triticale haylage, corn silage and some grain corn. The irrigated acres are split between the Springdale ranch in central Montana where Jim and his family develop Felton Angus Ranch yearling bulls and heifers, and the Tongue River Felton ranch near Ashland where his parents, Rich and Karol, run the cow-calf herd.

The hydraulic T-L systems are well within their comfort zone for repairs. They’ve had plenty of experience with hydraulics thanks to years of do-it-yourself repairs on their tractors and haying equipment. If they can’t do the work themselves, it’s a problem. So is a system that needs a lot of attention. The Feltons are known for raising cattle that can hold their own in rough pastures and in challenging weather without being babied. They expect the same of their irrigation system and for good reason.

“Some ranches have an owner, a farm manager, a herd manager, plus hired help. Here I’m the farm boss, the cow boss, the manager, the feed truck driver, etc. It’s just me and one hired man,” Felton said. On any given day he’s fixing fence, spraying noxious weeds in the pastures, checking cattle, putting up hay and managing the irrigation. He appreciates a bare minimum of time, and money, is devoted to running and repairing his T-L irrigation pivots.

With his T-Ls, there just aren’t that many things that can, or do, go wrong.

“Maybe they’ll get out of alignment but all I need is a nine-sixteenth wrench and a seven-eighth crescent wrench and 15 minutes later you’re ready to go,” Felton says. “The T-L pivots have been really reliable.”

For more information, see a dealer or visit

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.